About Minnesota Fringe

There is one big thing that makes Fringe different from any other event in town: All the shows you'll see at Fringe were selected randomly by lottery.

Yep. That's right. Each year the lineup is crafted by placing numbered ping-pong balls into a bingo cage and drawing them out, one by one. From stage veterans to people who are brand new to theater, Minnesota Fringe is a forum for anyone with a story to tell. We also provide the necessary support to make producing a show as easy as possible, regardless of where you land on the artistic spectrum.

Anyone (yes, anyone) can apply to have a show in the festival. If you'd like to have a show in our next festival, applications will go live in November here on our website. Sign up for our newsletter to receive a reminder as well as information about other theater events happening around town.

The mission of the Minnesota Fringe is to promote creative freedom and diversity of artistic expression by linking adventurous artists with adventurous audiences. Thank you for joining in this adventure!

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Shows start and end on time at Fringe. With hundreds of performances and dozens of shows in just 11 days, we have to run a tight schedule to avoid descending into chaos. Performances are no more than 60 minutes long with a half hour between each show.

On weekdays shows begin at 5:30pm, 7pm, 8:30pm and 10pm. On weekends there are additional shows at 1pm, 2:30pm and 4pm.

Late seating: There is NO LATE SEATING at Minnesota Fringe. In addition to keeping our schedule, late seating is a safety issue for artists and audiences.

Safety for artists: Some of our theaters require that patrons walk across parts of the stage to reach the seating area, and many of our production companies’ stage work encompasses entrances and exits from the house.

Safety for audiences: Entering a darkened theater, possibly for the first time, and trying to find open seats puts patrons and volunteers at unnecessary risk.

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Fringe Central

Fringe Central, sponsored by Surly Brewing and hosted by a local establishment, serves as the late-night watering hole for artists, staff, volunteers and audience members alike. Come in after a day full of shows to grab a beer and some bar food. Talk about what you loved and what you didn’t. Meet the artists behind the scenes and actors on the stage. Find out what you should see tomorrow or dream up your own idea for next year. You never know what will happen during Fringe, but dropping by Fringe Central gives you a serious head start.

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What to Wear

Shorts and a t-shirt. Seriously. Also, a pair of comfy shoes will serve you well in case you have to wait in line. Most Fringe shows take place indoors in air-conditioned venues, so having a layer to throw on in case you get chilly is also advisable.

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Choosing a Show

With hundreds of performances and dozens of shows, it's scandalous to see just one. But how to choose the perfect lineup?

Search by genre: You can filter for genres when trying to decide what to see.

Talk to people: It only sounds scary. Just look for the folks in lanyards. Lanyards are worn by Fringe artists and there are at least a thousand of them dying to tell you about their show.

Read and write reviews: See what audiences are raving about on our audience review page, then return the favor and let others know what you thought.

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Get Involved

Fringe isn't just a festival - it's a community, and it couldn't exist without people like you.

Create: Applications for the 2018 festival will are live on this website. Fringe is open to everyone, shows are selected by lottery, and you don't even need to have a show ready when you apply.

Volunteer: Our volunteers are near and dear to our hearts and make our festival go, so we shower them with lots of love and complimentary seats! Sign up for a shift now!

Socialize: Join us any night of the festival at our official hangout, Fringe Central sponsored by Surly Brewing and hosted by a local establishment, for a beer, a burger and maybe even some late-night shenanigans.

Support: Help us create Minnesota's Summer Theater Crawl by donating to or sponsoring our annual festival. Gifts of any size make a large contribution to our ability to meet our mission.

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Box Office Info

Pass, Reservations, and Tickets, Oh My!

In 2018, Fringe will still offer passes but is also re-introducing single tickets options to see shows. We are re-tooling our Box Office policies to reflect our changes. Please check back for more information in the spring.

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Blood Debt

By Degenerate Theatre
Written by Austin Lee

Playing at Bryant-Lake Bowl


Political content, First-time Minnesota Fringe Festival producer, First-time producer


Warnings: Violence, Adult language.

Can one truly justify excessive wealth? This brutal play addresses economic inequality. A Person kidnaps a Billionaire and forces him to pay a debt in blood while questioning his morals and decadent lifestyle.

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 16+


Sat, 8/5 @ 4:00pm


Tue, 8/8 @ 5:30pm


Thu, 8/10 @ 10:00pm


Sat, 8/12 @ 5:30pm


Sun, 8/13 @ 7:00pm

* Reservations not required, but a Day Pass is. Find out more below.

Ticket Options

Day Passes are $16 on weekdays; $22 on weekends. Day Passes serve as entry to any show in the festival on a given day. Optional reservations to guarantee a seat for a particular performance are available by clicking the "reserve" button above. Day Passes can be purchased in advance with a reservation or at any venue box office during the festival.

Weekdays 1pm-3pm and Weekends 11am-1pm we'll also open an Alternative Box Office at Fringe Central so you can grab a Day Pass and skip the lines at the venue before the show.

Day Passes for kids 12 and under are available at any box office during the festival just $5 every day.

A 2017 Fringe button isn't required for entry, but it does get you access! Wearing it not only identifies you as a part of a fabulous Fringe community, it also entitles you to special deals at local bars and restaurants and access to reduced ticket prices at various theaters throughout the year. Get your 2017 Fringe button for only $4 at any Fringe preview event or Fringe venue during the festival.

Read the reviews

Good Societal Analysis

by Yoshi Weston on August 20, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

This show did an excellent job at portraying the dysfunctional aspect of how our economic and social ties are structured in the United States. There is frustration developed from both impoverished and wealthy people, and they both have their own idea of what is right, wrong, and who deserves what. The play raises ethical questions that need to be raised even more for the United States to survive as a democratic nation. Only an ignorant soul would give this play a poor rating.

Earnest. but uninspiring

by Christopher DeVaan on August 14, 2017
This user has reviewed 17 shows

To be fair, I know the actress in this piece, and had already gotten prepared for what I was going to see before I saw it.
Like so much of what you see in Fringe, this had potential. It's a nice idea, but 45 minutes of back & forth about why a CEO born into privilege & wealth and treasures that wealth beyond everything else, got pretty tedious, real fast.
The "torture" was actually a lot tamer than what I had expected and comes towards the end of the piece.
The play could use some throughout, and maybe a third character to liven things up a bit.
The cast did what they could with the material they had; sometimes line delivery was a little too measured, like Iambic Pentameter.

The debt must be paid.

by Blake Farber on August 13, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Not for the faint of heart, or mind. Blood Debt may need some additional polish, but the heart of this play is an often chilling criticism of a economic reality we all face. Not only is such criticism relevant in these times, but increasingly necessary in a world which places a higher value on stock prices and profits than on the well-being of the people. Blood is already being spilt in the path of this greed driven machine, but not by those who profit. Until now.

Blood Debt

by Mary on August 13, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Great show! While the performance may be dark one does not know how they would respond when they are pushed to the limit! While The Person may have fabricated a story, in reality we do not know what others are experiencing in their lives. I do not support violence but I am aware of mental health.

Fell flat

by Dahlia Acman on August 13, 2017
This user has reviewed 17 shows

It was very topical, but neither side presented anything new and the stories seemed vague and impersonal. The Person's unnatural speech made her less relatable than I think was intended, and the high-stakes beginning made it difficult for the play to go anywhere.

Fury, But Little Substance

by Adam Boutz on August 12, 2017
This user has reviewed 56 shows

A billionaire get his comeuppance at the hands of a very angry everyman. Intense acting and commitment to the roles by the cast was enough to make me squirm at times. The characters, however, were as one-dimensional as they come. They were archetypes through which the writer laid out their case for the basic lack of humanity by the ultra wealthy.

The billionaire conveniently checked off every possible box for a loathsome rich white guy and made it so easy to hate him. Some nuance to challenge the viewer on his humanity, background, or the purity of the everyman's motivation could have given such a strong performance real impact instead of just being a strawman for the author to beat up on. Moral outrage can only carry a script so far.

No one specific reason this doesn't work

by James Zappa on August 11, 2017
This user has reviewed 10 shows

The script was vague and mechanical. Neither character gave us a reason to care about them despite the high stakes, and the Person relied on cryptic messages so we never really understood what she wanted. The theme kept repeating its self, after a while it becomes monotone hearing the same argument. the staging was awkward; at points both actors were upstaging themselves. The torture sequences were uncomfortable, but never fully convincing. The acting was unmotivated, and constantly 1 dimensional.
Writing/Directing/Producing the first time is daunting, I know from experience. I give kudos for the attempt, but not enough focus can be given to any task to execute a show.

what if

by Sara Robinson on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 6 shows

Nice idea for a storyline, and generally well-acted.

1 person found this review helpful

The system keeps churning

by g oko on August 9, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Thought provoking material. The story was written well. The message was well delivered. The Greed and self preservation shown helped shine light on the dark side of capitalism and even the dark side of humanity. The portrayal by the billionaire could have showed a bit more cunning and couth instead of brash and unwavering. The twists in the plot kept the audience on its toes. In the end the system always wins.

1 person found this review helpful

Too Morbid and Not Believeable Enough

by Brian Stepanek on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 8 shows

While there were parts I enjoyed, including the overall premise, the show was too morbid for me and the acting not believable enough.

Jolting. Awkward.

by Warren Jacobson on August 8, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

If torture and/or socialism is your thing you'll love it.

Edgy Finish

by Janis Emily Peabody on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 48 shows

This show was educational and intense. It had an incredible finish. But, the players were a bit monotone and it eventually began to drag on me.

1 person found this review helpful

The movie "Saw" meets the stage

by Jeff Keenan on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

The script is solid providing a gripping and thought-provoking story. The content is deep and, at times, dark. But the existential inquiries presented are things we should all challenge ourselves with. The actors stumbled through their lines at times, but I am sure this will be rectified for future shows.

1 person found this review helpful

Blood Debt

by Jessica Lindgren on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 20 shows

Interesting subject matter, production felt unpolished. Staging and props could have been used more deliberately to create tension, felt haphazard at times.

2 people found this review helpful

Social Justice

by John Shelso on August 7, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Shaken, not stirred, is the take away emotion of Blood Debt. Activism against injustice meets entrenched entitlement and wields more than words of morality and emotion against a pillar of the status quo. Worthy themes that could be worn thin in an academic debate are personalized in this intimate dramatic and gripping show.

Breaking down/through defenses of privilage and security of one of the characters strove for a ballance of radical and rational.

The performance puts a radical spin on the concept of social justice.

1 person found this review helpful

Stays with you

by Geoffrey Conklin on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 5 shows

High energy that didn't stop. Good performances and a show that will make you think long after the show is done.

1 person found this review helpful

Need to rehearse more

by Mark Goldberg on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 7 shows

I went into this play expecting to love it, and I did not. The script is well done and very thought provoking, my main issue with the play was with the female lead. Her delivery of the lines was...Shatner-esque in places. It felt to me that she was not familiar with the material. In a play like this, with just two people on stage, minimal props or costume design, the actors have a huge burden to carry the entire show. They were unable to do that in the performance I saw

1 person found this review helpful

Tough reviews are tough to write

by Corrie Fiedler on August 6, 2017
This user has reviewed 43 shows

There is the core of a great idea here, though it was tough to sort out what production aspects (such as the Person's lack of expressed emotion) were intentional and what needed further work. I wish the focus would have been more on thoughts and ideas, and less on (as another reviewer call it), the explicit torture porn. Without 'spoilers' it suffices to say that the character's conversion and double-crossing seem to come from no-where. I'd be interested to see where this idea could go with a tighter script, increase in the Person's emotional expression, and less explicit torture.

Blood Debt will surprise you!!!

by Rita Herreid on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

Found this to be a 'keep you on the edge of your seat' show that just grabs you and pulls you in. Then surprises you in the end!

Higher stakes desired

by Mo Holmes on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 1 show

I liked the idea of this bloody revenge drama when I saw it at previews. Both actors did good work with what they were given. I felt the text and directing could have managed the stakes better - maybe by grounding the characters more strongly in reality instead of archetypes. Also an idea was introduced around technology/the audience but wasn't explored enough for me. Tl;dr fun for the blood and premise, overall higher stakes desired.

1 person found this review helpful

Torture porn and social commentary!

by Andy Rakerd on August 5, 2017
This user has reviewed 16 shows

I want to start with a commendation to the actors, who carry on with heavy intensity for a solid hour! As for the writing, the commentary on income inequality was a bit heavy handed at times, but otherwise dynamic. The show leaves you wondering who the real villain is. See it if you have an appetite for blood in your Fringe diet.

1 person found this review helpful

Cast and crew

Jeffery Goodson


A MN Fringe veteran eight times before, including Assassins, Shakespeare Ate My Brain, The Actor’s Nightmare, It Came From UUFO, Perhaps They’re French and The Rambler Family Ramblers. Jeff is thrilled to be part of this cast and work with this crew at this time in our country. Other stage work: The General in Table Salt’s rock-musical comedy Vampires! Horror! (reprised in the film version); Seymour in Lake Pepin Players’ Little Shop of Horrors ; roles in Godspell, A Man for All Seasons, Our Town, The Nerd; plus Chanhassen Dinner Theater, Nimbus Theatre and Brave New Workshop productions. Film work: Haunt This… , Shakespeare Ate My Brain(the movie) and various commercials and film shorts. A singer-songwriter, Jeff’s latest album of original music Of the Same Name was released last spring. More info on his website jefferygoodson.com.

Holly Peterson


Holly has been dabbling in the local theater and film scene for the last couple years after moving back from brief stints in Chicago and Maine, where she did more of the same. Most recently she has performed with Smartmouth Comedy, Anodyne Theater, and (life highlight!) A Drinking Game, MN. She was also certified by the SAFD this spring, which is unfortunately not going to be utilized in what is regardless a quite gory production.

Austin Lee

Director, Producer, Playwright

Austin is excited to participate in his second MN Fringe Festival. Normally an actor, this is Austin's first time writing, directing, and producing a play. Austin has performed in several productions at South Dakota State University and a handful of plays in the Twin Cities. His recent roles include Romeo/Professor Night in Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet and Tim Allgood in Noises Off at Lakeshore Players Theatre. He also played Tony Kirby in You Can't Take It With You at Eagan Theater Company and participated as a cast member at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. More information about Austin and his work can be found at austinleeactor.weebly.com.
Austin is even more excited to marry his fiance and fellow Degenerate Theatre founder Whitney Graff in September!

Whitney Graff

Stage Manager, Publicity & Marketing

Whitney is thrilled to be making her debut with the Minnesota Fringe Festival! Originally from South Dakota, she has worked in multiple realms of theatre including acting, stage management, and theatre arts management. Some of her favorite past projects include appearing as Evelyn in The Shape of Things, stage managing Shrek: The Musical, and recently appearing as Ariel in Lakeshore Players production of The Tempest. Whitney is looking forward to sharing Blood Debt with audiences and hopes that this production, while intense and brutal, is enjoyable and thought-provoking.

Maggie Murphy

Costume Design

Jacob Lee Hofer

Technical Adviser, Videography, Sound Design

More information

At this point in our culture, the topics and issues in Blood Debt, though conveyed to the extreme, have never been more relevant. Therefore, this production serves to remind us that, “Poverty is hell. Oppression is torture. And pain is the greatest bonding element."

Blood Debt, written by local playwright, Austin Lee, marks the premiere production for Degenerate Theatre and features the talents of Holly Peterson and Jeffery Goodson as the Person and Billionaire, respectively. This production contains strong language and violence. It is intended for mature audiences only.

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